Elaine Marie Alphin The Ghost Cadet

ISBN 13: 9780805016147

The Ghost Cadet

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9780805016147: The Ghost Cadet
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Twelve-year-old Benjy, in Virginia visiting the grandmother he has never met, meets the ghost of a Virginia Military Institute cadet who was killed in the Battle of New Market in 1864 and helps him recover his family's treasured gold watch.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-8-- During a school vacation, Benjy and his older sister, Fran, are sent to visit a grandmother they have never met. Both are upset because they feel that their mother is deserting them, just as their father did. Arriving in New Market, Virginia, Benjy immediately becomes drawn into the local history revolving around the Civil War. He meets Hugh McDowell, a ghost who is trying to recover his honor by finding the family watch that he hid during the battle in which he died. The story that follows is one of friendship, trust, caring, and self-discovery. Alphin has skillfully woven together fact, fiction, and emotion. Readers will identify with Benjy, Fran, Hugh, and the grandmother, all of whom are portrayed in a realistic light with all of their human frailties. As the story progresses, Benjy begins to trust again and work through his anger. In a touching climax, the modern-day reenactment of the battle is integrated with the roll call of the dead heroes, and Benjy witnesses Hugh's accomplishment and triumph. The conclusion, however, is just a bit banal: Fran's new boyfriend is Hugh's great-great cousin. Written from the Southern point of view, Ghost Cadet is refreshingly different from other Civil War stories . A quick read that's great for historical-fiction assignments. --Molly Kinney, Miami Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Benjy, 12, and his 16-year-old sister meet their grandmother, Miss Leota, for the first time when they go to visit her in New Market, Virginia. All three are apprehensive; but Benjy, lonely and insecure, likes Miss Leota immediately. He's fascinated by a battle fought in New Market in 1864 and--while visiting the battlefield--encounters the ghost of a cadet, Hugh, who can't find rest until he restores the family honor by recovering a watch he hid during the fighting. Welcoming Hugh's friendship, Benjy offers to help, which he does by going back in time to witness Hugh hiding the watch before he dies. Benjy retrieves and takes the watch to the VMI Museum, where he presents it to a descendant of Hugh's. Reminiscent of traditional 19th-century travel books, this first novel falls victim to its author's well-intentioned agenda. Frequently, the voice seems less like Benjy's than Alphin's as she explains her characters; as a result, Benjy and his overanalyzed problems are more likely to arouse scorn than admiration. Of use only where there is a strong demand for Civil War material. (Fiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Elaine Marie Alphin
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